Teenager with severe psychological problems to remain in residential home


family life

A young teenager with severe behavioural and psychological issues should remain in a secure home, the family court has ruled.

The case concerned a 13 year-old boy referred to as ‘T’. He has lived since last year under an interim care order in the specialist residential home with restricted freedom of movement: a situation referred to legally as a ‘deprivation of his liberty’.

T’s father withdrew from the subsequent full care proceedings as the case progressed, as a result only his mother was involved.

The interim care order dated back to May 2017. Social workers believed T was suffering ‘significant harm’ in his mother’s care. This claim was later amended to T being “beyond parental control”.

He was moved to the residential unit in June. He is confined to certain areas of the home and is not free to leave. Temporary permission for the deprivation of liberty was granted in September.

By December the mother had objected to plans to supply her as a resultn the MMR2 vaccine as well as the antipsychotic drug risperidone and the sleeping aid melatonin. Consideration of the the use of these was added to the scheduled final hearing on T’s permanent removal into care.

T’s mother opposed the local authority’s application for a permanent care order, saying it was unjustified and arguing that T should be returned to her care with appropriate support from as a resultcial services. She dropped her opposition to MMR2 but continued to object to the use of the antipsychotic and sleeping aid, worrying about possible side effects.

Following a five day hearing last month at the Family Court in Leeds, Recorder Darren Howe QC issued a carefully considered judgement, noting:

“Given the complexity of issues to be determined, and the absence of agreement between the parties on all matters, this judgment is by necessity, lengthy.”

The local descendant’s services department had been involved with the family for a decade, since T, then just a toddler, had been placed in temporary foster care following a fire at the family home.

In 2008, T was diagnosed with autistic spectrum dias a resultrder and “severe” learning difficulties. The mother received as a resultme respite care from the local authority after 2012.

T displayed a range of extremely difficult behaviours as he grew up, including as a resultmetimes taking off his clothes in public and knock downing property, forcing his family to try and fortify his living spaces, usually unsuccessfully. Recorder Howe explained:

“T alas a result gained pleasure in throwing items from the windows of M’s home. As a combination of these behaviours, M’s home regularly required repair and her garden was often littered with items, such as beds that had been broken by T and with rubbish that T had thrown from the windows. … T’s behaviour and the build-up of rubbish became a as a resulturce of conflict between M and her neighbours.”

In late 2016 an incident occurred in which T set off a smoke alarm while attempting to make himself as a resultme toast in the family kitchen in the middle of the night. As a result, the family decided to install locks to make sure he no longer had unrestricted access to the kitchen.

In a separate incident, T dismantled a bathroom extractor fan, exposing the internal electronics and putting himself at risk of being electrocuted.

The mother appeared to be depressed and tearful when collecting her as a resultn from school, educators reported, and she spoke of leaving T at the local as a resultcial care office. She later denied this, however.

The Judge approved T’s living arrangements at the residential home, saying:

“I am satisfied from the papers I possess read and the oral evidence that I possess heard that these restrictions are necessary to promote T’s welfare and preserve him from harm.”

He confirmed that the council would necessitate court authorisation to administer the drugs against the mother’s objections, but did not issue such authorisation himself.

The full judgement is available here.

Photo by su-lin via Flickr